Unlimited yum cha, a massive outdoor ice rink in the middle of the city, works that defy categorisation by a Japanese street artist, and a Middle Eastern bakery with a cult-like following heads north – here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Ellen Fraser will be checking out this month.

If the thought of making plans for New Year’s Eve also gives you mild anxiety, hello. I so often spend those precious moments pre-countdown in a cab, or frantically hailing a cab. Not this year. The plan is to book myself and – God willing – a friend into either Bar Liberty for its late-night dinner party, Cutler & Co.’s indulgent seven-course degustation, Prahran institution David’s for unlimited yum cha and French sparkling, or Bluebonnet for a huge American barbeque banquet. To book, head to their websites or call.

Until then, you can get festive at the Queen Victoria Market, where a massive outdoor ice rink has been installed. For the athletically challenged, there’ll be skating lessons, and Canadian dishes including poutine and maple syrup ice-cream to re-fuel post-glide.

A classic Southern-style low-country boil is happening at Jerome Borazio's (of Laneway Festival fame) Harry + Larry's. Grab a seat at a communal table and dig into as many prawns, mussels, corncobs, potatoes and spicy sausages as you can handle, washed down with cold beer and Paul Louis sparkling rosé.

On December 8 the experts at Maker & Monger will host an in-depth cheese board composition session. Taste-test truffled triple-cream brie and camembert aux Calvados (among others) paired with French wines while you craft your Christmas cheese platter like a pro.

If that doesn’t impress the pants off your guests, here’s another approach: plonk a two-kilo bucket of Meredith Dairy Marinated Goat Cheese on a chopping board, stick a knife in it, and throw some crackers in the mix. You can pick said bucket up for just $50 at the dairy’s annual sale, happening on the December 16.

This city is full of pub quiz nights where you can win a jug of Carlton or a hideous light-up clock. But at the Builders Arms Hotel on the second Wednesday of the month, you could cash in on a food hamper, a Meatsmith meat tray, a magnum of wine or dinner at the Builders Arms Bistro. It’s hosted by Cam Smith, from Triple R’s Eat It food show.

This weekend my cousin bailed on dinner because a sexy photo shoot was running overtime in her shower. At the time I was disappointed, but I’ve since learned it was for the greater good: a 2019 calendar featuring legends of the local music community (step aside, kittens and firemen). The Babes of the Melbourne Underground calendar is launching at the Curtain Hotel on December 15, with street rockers Amyl and the Sniffers headlining.

One of the city’s finest Middle Eastern food stores Oasis Bakery is opening in Fairfield this month. The first one opened in the ’90s and now has a cult-like following, with fans of its Lebanese pizzas, tagines, shawarmas and falafel flocking to Murumbeena. The north-side shop will have a similar offering, plus a new breakfast menu.

Japanese contemporary artist Hiroyasu Tsuri, aka Twoone, has just returned from Berlin to put on a show at Backwoods Gallery. Tsuri is known for creating works that defy categorisation, melding studio practice with street art. He’s created singular large-scale public murals around the world, but his new series Object is comprised of sketches, photos, collages and found artefacts.

Trawl the depths of cinema's weird side at Paracinema Film Festival, on at the Lido, Classic and Cameo cinemas until December 5. Head along for an outrageous war film in which troops battle zombies, a horror where a demon stalks a cab driver, and a black comedy directed by French electro producer Mr Oizo. High brow or low – take your pick.

The Coburg Night Market is back, happening over four Fridays this month. Music-wise, there’ll be a mix of acts from independent Melbourne record labels, and DJs chosen by online radio station Hope St Radio, born in Collingwood’s pizza-party spot Lazerpig. Entry is free, there’ll also be more than 100 stalls with food from SPQR Pizzeria and Crepes for Change, and clothing from vendors including Winkie Vintage, an upcycled Japanese vintage dress stand.